I cannot imagine how parents and family of people who disappear into thin air survive the emotional pain.
Every once in a while I think of two people who were with us one day and then, simply, gone. One was a young man who attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He was vibrant, wonderful person, who loved life. He directed the youth choir and was active in the church. He graduated from high school and headed South to college.
He lived with his grandmother and she was so proud of him. If I remember correctly, he was in his freshman year and was planning to come home for Thanksgiving. He called his grandmother before he left his campus, on his way to the bus station, to say he was on his way.
That was the last anyone heard from him or saw him. He has never been found.
The other person who disappeared into thin air was a classmate of mine at Yale Divinity School. He went with a group of friends to New York to celebrate New Year’s Eve. He was at a nightclub with his friends and reportedly went outside “for a moment.”
He has not been seen since.
It jostles my imagination to think of how one survives that kind of thing. I know people go on, but what must life be like? This world is not a safe place and there isn’t anything we can do about that.
But this is what we can do: treasure each moment we have with our loved ones. There is nothing more special, more precious, than people in our lives who care and who love us, not because of who we are but in spite of who we are. Their shortcomings should not be enough to outweigh their value to us, and to our emotional and spiritual well being.
There are some things that I am actively practicing- one of which is celebrating every day of life that I have and appreciating and loving fully my friends and family. I pray for “hush mouth grace” when one of my friends or children or siblings say or do something that rubs me the wrong way. I am practicing putting things into perspective.
Because, honestly … I would rather have a million days of irritation than one day of having to endure the emptiness of one whom I love simply being …gone…disappeared, without a trace.
We humans get caught up sometimes, too many times, actually, in the small stuff. The fact that people can just disappear ought to give all of us pause …and encourage us to put things into perspective.
That’s a candid observation.